To improve its products, General Motors took a very GM-like step last week: It created a committee.
True, it's a powerful committee. The Automotive Product Board will include the company's top global executives. It will have control over which vehicles land in global showrooms in years to come.
The committee plans to cut costs, create innovative niche products and speed up GM's ponderous product development. As the committee centralizes control, regional product development chiefs will lose some power.
A hassle with the Pontiac G6 helped prompt GM to create the committee. GM engineers in North America wanted to create a convertible model. But they couldn't use the Saab 9-3 convertible as the basis for the G6 convertible, even though they share the same platform.
Saab engineers had changed the location of the points on the vehicle that attach it to the assembly line, GM CEO Rick Wagoner said. The board will "clean up those kinds of things," Wagoner said in an interview at the Geneva auto show.